CASE CLOSED … what really happened in the 2001 anthrax attacks?

* why did the FBI keep evidence of John Ezzell’s dried powder from the NAS?

Posted by DXer on March 21, 2011


Throughout the investigation the FBI kept secret that the FBI’s anthrax expert at USAMRIID, John Ezzell, had made a dried powder out of RMR 1029 (which was the flask used for all wet aerosol challenges with Ames at USAMRIID from 1997 until 2002).  In the 9600 pages provided to the NAS, the FBI withheld all documents relating to this from the NAS.  Did the FBI scientists do this for national security reasons — or to cover their ass?


8 Responses to “* why did the FBI keep evidence of John Ezzell’s dried powder from the NAS?”

  1. DXer said

    In Dr. Majidi’s new manuscript attempting to defend the FBI’s investigation of the Fall 2001 anthrax mailings, he does not explain why the FBI withheld from the NAS news that DARPA researcher Dr. Ezzell had made dried powder out of Ivins’ Ames that was genetically matching — and he was in Building 1412.

    Dr. Ezzell’s assistant doing the work then went to Johns Hopkins where the former Zawahiri associate supplied virulent Ames by Bruce Ivins had his decontaminant tested (in addition to the testing done at LSU, Dugway and USAMRIID).

    Amerithrax represents the greatest failure in counterintelligence analysis in the history of the United States.

    The withholding of documents in the matter supervised by Vahid Majidi was really wrongheaded. Dr. Majidi is nonetheless confident that his boss throughout, Mr. Comey, has his back covered.

    But that is precisely the nature of CYA, isn’t it?

    People cover each other’s backs rather than disclose the documents necessary for analysis of an issue on the merits.

    It is keeping America safe that should be the only priority. This associate professor from Kentucky should not have presumed to have withheld documents from the public and NAS needed to assess the correctness of an Ivins Theory. For starters, the traditional forensic reports — WHICH ARE EXCULPATORY OF IVINS — should be uploaded by the FBI this week and added to the production at the FBI’s website.

    Moving forward, everyone can either be part of the problem or part of the solution. And remember, there are no secrets.

    Given Dr. Majidi’s confidence in Mr. Comey’s willingness to go along with the Ivins Theory, any optimism that Amerithrax would be reopened by the fresh pair of eyes in the Director’s office was misguided.

  2. DXer said

    Laurie Garrett writes:

    “As soon as the plastic bag is opened, clouds of anthrax dust swirl out of their confinement and dance up the pressure gradient of the glove-box. The stunned scientists stare in disbelief. They have never seen anything like this. Usually the powdered substances they work with in the vented glove boxes do not move.”

  3. DXer said

    David Willman in Mirage Man writes:

    “Although few outsiders could have known it, Ivins’s protests by em-mail that no one at USAMRIID could make anthrax spore powder were squarely at odds with the facts. John Ezzell, his longtime colleague, had for several years during the late 1990s produced it at USAMRIID. This project was funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, a Pentagon unit responsible for developing new technology for use by the military. DARPA needed Ezzell’s services because the agency was backing development of a portable high-tech device, a mass spectrometer, which could be used to detect anthrax and other biological or chemical agents on the battlefield or in civilian setting, such as high-rise office buildings.

    In order to test the machine’s reliability, powdered anthrax, the type that a terrorist or a hostile foreign government might wield, was needed. Ezzell was asked to provide highly concentrated anthrax — pure spores. After culturing and harvesting the material, he and other USAMRIID scientists used repeated cycles of distilled water to wash away any contaminants. They irradiated the spores, rendering them harmless to humans. Ezzell then dried the material, using a standard lab machine called a lyophilized.

    The result was highly purified anthrax powder — snow white, fine and fluffy. Ezzell and his staff used the powder and other biological agents, including a simulant for plague, in the tests of the mass spectrometer. After about five years of trial and error, DARPA stopped funding the project because the device, designed to function much like a smoke detector, could not distinguish between substances in the natural environment and potential biological weapons.” (p. 134)

  4. DXer said

    who “was good ‘at playing with equipment’ and was interested in trying to develop the capability to generate dry aerosols at USAMRIID.” ?

    See 279A-WF-222936, at page 2, dated 1/30/2007

  5. Zicon said

    Because the government “is typically reactive, not proactive”. Thus doesn’t make things easy on anyone seeking answers and creates confusion among all those looking for the truth.

  6. DXer said

    A 10/04/2004 report of an interview

    “advised that when the FBI was reestablish its laboratory at Quantico, Virginia, USAMRIID began to collaborate with them on various research projects ___________ thought that by working at USAMRIID ___ chances of obtaining employment would be enhanced. [long redacted passage]…

    The Anthrax spores were cultured using selective media or enriched media. Only that amount of Anthrax that was needed to conduct testing was cultured. Some to [sic] the Anthrax was dead through irradiation; however some live Anthrax spores were also used. Live Anthrax would be stored in refrigerated compartments until it was needed ___________________ explained it, _________________________ would obtain the Anthrax they used from _______ _____________

    __________________ advised that neither ___ nor anyone else in ___ section ever did any work which involved the drying of Anthrax.”

    The FBI’s anthrax expert at USAMRIID DID dry anthrax — from Flask 1029 no less. Did this researcher not know it?

    Why are the passages about drying the anthrax by the FBI anthrax expert redacted under FOIA? (That is, given that they nowhere appear in the 302s, presumably the drying of the anthrax was disclosed to the FBI agents and then redacted). But what is the justification for redacting passages about the making of drying of anthrax from flask 1029 — leaving only mistaken denials that any such drying had been done.

  7. Zicon said

    Disassociation to Disinformation of the truth to C.Y.A

  8. DXer said

    Note that the NAS even had a film of the FBI expert’s making dried powder from Flask 1029 and still didn’t even so much as mention it. I first made public all the details in July 2009 and so it is not like it was a last minute revelation to anyone being paid to follow the matter closely.

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